Saturday, 20 August 2011

my chillis for later consumption

beef and chicken chilli

Camping meals aren't always easy or convenient to prepare so we tend to take a meal with us. The trick is to freeze it so that the finished product acts as an ice block in the cool box. Since this is a short trip, without electric hook-up, we can take it down in the box and it'll take all one day and part of the next to fully defrost. The first night is set to be warm so we can bbq otherwise I'd be preparing a curry to take for then. I'm hoping this will comfortably feed 9 of us. As for inspiration, I really like the curry from take aways called a chicken and lamb rezala (spelling may be dodgy) so I thought the same richness could be applied to a traditional chilli con carne. I think I got it right;)


  • 720g of minced beef (ground beef)
  • 450g of chicken breast, cubed
  • 2x400g tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tin red kidney beans (or you can soak and cook your own if you have time)
  • 1 tin of water from the tap
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 courgette, chopped
  • 2 green peppers, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 or 5 cloves of garlic, crushed with sea salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • black pepper
  • 3 heaped teaspoons of paprika (I didn't use smoked for this)
  • 4 heaped teaspoons of ground cumin
  • 2 heaped tsp of chilli powder (I'd add fresh chilli too to spice this up but I'm feeding 'delicate' children)
  • a handful of black olives
  • olive oil (I use extra virgin)
  • a little sunflower (or canola) oil
  1. fry the onion gently in the olive oil for a few minutes (use a deep heavy pan)
  2. add the garlic, carrot, pepper and courgette, and fry for 10 mutes or so
  3. add the spices and herbs before removing from the pan to set aside
  4. fry the beef for 5 or 10 minutes, gently, in the sunflower oil, until browned (I add the bay leaves half way through)
  5. set aside the beef with the vegetables
  6. gently seal the diced chicken for a few minutes
  7. add the beef and vegetables to the chicken and combine
  8. add the tomatoes, water (I guess you could use beef stock), kidney beans and olives
  9. simmer gently for about an hour on the stove top with a lid over the pan
This'll be served in bowls with plain boiled rice and nachos in the Peak District drizzle or mist!

Friday, 19 August 2011

griddled salmon with a tarragon sauce

Morrisons, our nearest supermarket with a fish counter, were advertising half price salmon - so - salmon it is! I bought too much creme fraiche for the mackerel pate the other day so that needed to be used, matched with the tarragon in the garden, about to run to seed. The result is a deliciously flavoursome, sharp, aniseedy dish that was very nicely accompanied by new potatoes and broccoli. The two youngest were out at the 'credit-crunch' fayre (99p a ride) so only the eldest to feed; enjoyed the salmon but allegedly allergic to the sauce! Amazing that he can know that without the slightest taste.

serves 2 (but the sauce could be stretched to 4 with a little extra cream)

  • 2 fillets salmon, oiled and seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1 glass of dry white wine
  • 150g creme fraiche
  • about 1tbs of fresh tarragon, finely chopped
  • a squeeze of lemon juice
  • 25g butter (slightly salted)
  • a splash of olive oil
  1. griddle the salmon over a medium heat, on a dry pan, until cooked through
  2. heat the butter gently and add the onion, cook until translucent
  3. add the garlic and cook for a few seconds
  4. add the wine and reduce gently by about two thirds
  5. add a squeeze of lemon (not too much)
  6. add the creme fraiche and heat through
  7. throw in the tarragon and mix
  8. season to taste

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Wednesday, 17 August 2011

smoked mackerel pate with horseradish and cucumber

smoked mackerel pate with horseradish and cucumber

Tonight is the Cromer Carnival parade. Earlier in the day the red arrows did their thing at precicely 12 o'clock - their timing is impeccable, but then I suppose it has to be. One mistake and the display would be ruined!The parade will be the same trailers magically transformed into tropical dioramas with drunken youths belly dancing in time to hammering bass. Majorettes are fortunate that the sea mist has stayed away. It all starts early so a light tea was needed. I've added a bit of crunch to a tried and tested favourite and I'm glad I did. This is delicious, a real crowd pleaser.


serves several - from 2 to many depending on the circumstances...

  • 4 smoked mackerel fillets
  • 200g creme fraiche
  • salt and pepper
  • juice of half a lemon
  • a couple of inches of cucumber, seeded and sprinkled with sea salt
  • a tbs of creamed horseradish (or grated fresh horseradish to taste)
  • a small handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
  1. skin the mackerel and mash it with a fork
  2. mix in the horseradish, lemon juice and creme fraiche
  3. pat the cucumber dry with paper towel and add to the mixture ( I leave the skin on because it looks pretty and holds the crunch better)
  4. season to taste
  5. chill and serve with warm pitta

Monday, 15 August 2011

ham, egg and chips

No recipe needed -

ham, cooked and carved thickly
potatoes, chipped and deep fried
eggs, fried - sunny side up

cook - serve - eat

Sunday, 14 August 2011

vegetable stew with lamb kofta balls

vegetable stew with lamb kofta balls

It's ok to feel a little bit delicate after a nice evening around the coals. Perhaps a head-ache is a compliment to the chef, a symptom of a fun evening (the same cannot be said of a pain in the belly). Kebabs, merguez and home-made burgers, eaten with friends as the sky grew dark. Some of the kofta mix was still sitting in the fridge so the 'cupboards are bare' ethos set me thinking. The mix is kind of middle eastern so needs a tagineish stew to go with it. Couscous is out since I overdose the family on it till the grumbles actually hurt my ears, so rice is the accompaniment. Suits me.

For the kofta:

  • 500g of lamb mince (ground lamb?)
  • 1 small onion, grated
  • 1 clove of garlic, pureed with sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 small red pepper, very finely chopped
  • squeeze of lemon juice
  • salt and pepper
  • glug of olive oil
  • 1 small chilli, finely chopped
  • small handful of very finely chopped parsley

(leave it in the fridge for a couple of hours for the flavours to develop)
  1. form into balls about the size of gobstoppers and griddle or grill over coals until cooked through
For the stew:

  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 courgette, diced
  • 1 yellow, red or green pepper (I used yellow)
  • 1 large ripe tomato, diced
  • scant handful of puy (continental) lentils
  • 1 pint of chicken stock
  • 1 nob of butter
  • olive oil
  • handful of parsley, finely chopped
  • pinch of saffron
  • 1tsp of ground cumin
  • 1tsp of paprika (not smoked)
  • salt and pepper

  1. Gently fry the onion and garlic in the olive oil
  2. add the vegetables and sit on a low heat for 5 or 10 minutes
  3. add the spices, the lentils and the butter, stir until the lentils are well mixed in and glistening
  4. add the stock and simmer on a low heat for about 1/2 an hour, adding more liquid if necessary
  5. before topping with the meatballs, give the stew a vigorous stir to break up some of the lentils, thickening the sauce
  6. throw in the parsley
This meal was absolutely delicious - I cannot recommend it highly enough.